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Indian Army to induct indigenous howitzers in 2013: Antony

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JABALPUR (PTI): After failing to induct artillery guns in the last over 25 years, the Indian Army will get its first indigenously-manufactured howitzer next year, Defence Minister A K Antony has said.

The guns produced in the unit (Ordnance Factory) will be inducted in the Army by 2013, he said after launching the facility to manufacture 155 mm howitzers at the Gun Carriage Factory.

The army, which has not inducted artillery guns in the last 25 years, is eagerly waiting for the indigenously manufactured weapons which are being developed on the basis of the transfer of technology of the Bofors guns.

The two types of howitzers for the army will be ready for trials by December and by June next year respectively.

The clearance for the project was accorded by the Defence Ministry's Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in its meeting in October last year granting permission to the Ordnance Factory Board to manufacture 155mm howitzers.

Under the project, the OFB will manufacture two prototypes of 155mm 39 calibre FH-77-B02 guns and the upgraded version of 155 mm/45 calibre howitzers.

The decision to allow the OFB to manufacture these guns was taken after the army failed in more than four attempts to modernise its artillery.

The army has made several attempts to procure four types of howitzers, but all of them have failed due to one reason or the other.

Antony informed that plans are afoot for modernisation of ordnance factories in the country saying, "There are a total of 39 ordnance factories in the country and all of them are doing a good work in production of weapons for the Army".

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